Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has delayed his travel to Chicago for this weekend's Test game against Italy in order to work with some of his senior players who have been carrying knocks.

The bulk of the Irish squad and staff flew out to the USA earlier in the week as they prepare for Saturday’s clash with Conor O’Shea’s side at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Rob Kearney and Peter O’Mahony were among those who stayed behind with Schmidt to have injuries assessed.

Kearney took a heavy knock during Leinster’s victory over Bennetton on Saturday while O’Mahony picked up a shoulder injury while playing for Munster against Glasgow.

Both Kearney and O’Mahony look likely to miss Saturday’s game in Chicago but should recover in time for the November series games in Dublin against Argentina, New Zealand and the USA.

"Joe stayed and he’s coming in tomorrow," Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby told reporters.

"They’ve been in Carton House for a couple of days working away and some have had an opportunity to recover from a few bumps. Others are working hard, particularly hard in a conditioning sense.

"I guess it’s a very small window, which you don’t get many of during a season, to get some work into some players and also, on the other side, it gives us an opportunity to take some less experienced players away and try to build as much depth and as many experiences as we can into a wider group."

When asked about the fitness of O’Mahony and Kearney, Easterby was upbeat on their chances of being involved in the Dublin games.

"Any other guys who are needing treatment will be working with him and then when we return from here, with the flight involved and potentially a few bumps and bruises from this game this weekend, we’ll assess everything on Sunday evening and make a call on next week.

"As far as we’re concerned at the moment, everyone that’s named in that squad still has the potential to play throughout the November Series."